What causes endometriosis?

The exact cause of endometriosis is not well known. Certain theories are currently being explored. Potential causal theories include:
  • Surgical scar implantation: Endometriosis may develop after an abdominal surgery such as a C-section or hysterectomy because endometrial cells could potentially attach to the incision. 
  • Retrograde (reverse) menstruation: This theory suggests that some of the blood containing endometrial cells is not shed during menstruation and instead goes back through the fallopian tubes and into the pelvic cavity. These endometrial cells then stick to the pelvic wall and/or other organs.
  • Problems with the immune system: In this theory, the immune system is not functioning properly and cannot get rid of the displaced endometrial tissue.
  • Genetics: Researchers are theorizing that endometriosis may be an inherited disorder.
  • Hormone imbalances 
  • Transformation of peritoneal cells: This is called the “induction theory". In this theory, it is thought that the cells that line the inside of the abdomen (peritoneal cells) are influenced by hormones or immune factors to change into endometrial cells.
  • Endometrial cells transport: In this theory, endometrial cells are moved to different parts of the body via the blood or lymphatic system.
  • Embryonic cell transformation: This theory suggests that during puberty hormones change embryonic cells into endometrial cells. 
*All the potential causes mentioned above are theories that are being researched and are not definitive causes of endometriosis* 
endometriosis causes

  • “Endometriosis.” Mayo Clinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 20 Aug. 2016. Web. 3 Aug. 2017.
  • “Endometriosis.” Cleveland Clinic, 29 May. 2014. Web. 3 Aug. 2017. 
  • “Endometriosis.” John’s Hopkins Medicine. John’s Hopkins Medicine Health Library, n.d. Web. 3 Aug. 2017.
  • “Endometriosis.” Office on Women’s Health, US Department of Health and Human Services. Womenshealth.gov, 10 Jul. 2017.   Web. 3 Aug. 2017. 



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